Victor Pulgar, Ph.D.
Dr. Pulgar’s focus in research is to determine the relationships between changes in reactivity to agonists in peripheral arteries and the development of hypertension. Small arteries with internal diameters of less than 500 µm contribute substantially to the peripheral resistance, and are considered resistance arteries. Through variations in diameter and hence resistance to flow this particular portion of the cardiovascular system regulates blood supply to peripheral organs. Alterations in relaxing and contractile properties of small resistance arteries are in part responsible for the hemodynamic changes observed in human hypertension. Thus, endothelial dysfunction and/or enhanced constrictor responses in peripheral arteries are common findings in various forms of hypertension. Using animal models and cardiovascular physiology techniques my research is focused in to understand vascular mechanisms involved in the generation and/or development of alterations leading to an increased blood pressure. In the model of acquired hypertension an abnormally high blood pressure is induced in rats via administration of the cardiac glycoside ouabain, whereas we used the transgenic rat strain mRen2 as a model of genetic hypertension. As in human hypertension, evidences indicate an up-regulation of the sympathetic nervous system in these models and we used heart rate variability (HRV) and spontaneous baroreflex (BRS) analysis as non-invasive tools to study autonomic balance during the development of acquired hypertension.